Bethlehem Press

Monday, March 18, 2019

Parent’s denial results in an avoidable death

Tuesday, March 12, 2019 by The Press in Local News

Since its launch in February 2018, 52 house calls have been made, and 34 individuals have gone into treatment as a result of Blue Guardian.

Blue Guardian is an initiative between the District Attorney, the Lehigh County Regional Intelligence and Investigation Center (RIIC), police departments in Lehigh County, and the Lehigh County Department of Drug & Alcohol. The program endeavors to use the existing relationships between police and their communities to assist addicted individuals in accessing treatment. It also attempts to help the families of those who are addicted. The ultimate goal is twofold: getting the individual into the treatment needed and providing resources to the person’s family.

Unfortunately, a recent home visit did not have a positive result. District Attorney Martin and Mr. Turner believe that relaying details of it to the public may help family members in similar circumstances learn from and respond differently should they face this sort of situation in the future.

Recently, a police officer and a Certified Recovery Specialist arrived at a residence. They spoke with the parent of an individual who had been resuscitated with naloxone. The parent was not aware that the adult child had been saved by naloxone. The parent was told by the adult child that he/she had been hospitalized for an issue other than a drug overdose.

After the evening of the police/CRS home visit, the individual who had overdosed called and expressed anger at the team for going to the home and talking to the parent. (Parent and adult child lived together.)

Though additional contact between the Blue Guardian team and the parent occurred after that call, the addicted individual eventually managed to convince the parent that he/she did not have a drug problem and that no assistance was needed. The parent, who was in apparent denial about the adult child’s addiction, accepted that explanation. Unfortunately, several days later, the parent found the adult child unresponsive in a room of their home. The adult child died as a result of a drug overdose.

“This story illustrates the need for the Blue Guardian Program. It also demonstrates why family members must recognize that a person in the throes of drug addiction will not always tell the truth nor be willing to get treatment. Family members and persons who reside with those struggling with addiction need to avail themselves of the opportunity to get help for their addicted relatives and companions and to trust the information relayed to them by representatives who are sent to assist not only addicts but those with whom they live,” said Martin.

Turner added, “This incident will not be a complete tragedy if even one person learns from it and gets help for someone battling addiction.

“We hope that we never have to issue a release like this again,” Turner said.

Article courtesy Blue Guardian program